Boys and Girls
In a study of three year old girls and boy a barrier of soft orange construction fencing about three feet high was put between the group of children and their mothers. The girl sat down and cried because they could get to their mother while the boys proactively pushed the fence over to rejoin their mothers.
Even at a young age boys are more active and physical than girls. Any mother of a boy child can attest to that. So trying to change the “nature of the beast” is foolhardy. What need to be done is to modify teaching strategy to accommodate boys more the kinetic imaginations. Considering that many boys do grow up to be well educated and adjusted productive members of society obviously some teacher have “gotten it” and managed to engage the young male psyche in not only learning but also imagining.
Boys are struggling academically and a large and growing male cohort is falling behind in grades and disengaged from school. College has never been more important to a young person’s life prospects, and today boys are far less likely than girls to pursue education beyond high school. As our schools become more risk averse, the gender gap favoring girls is threatening to become a chasm.
Teachers have to come to terms with the young male spirit if we want boys to flourish. They have to understand that males and females at all ages process information differently. We are going to have to encourage boy’s distinctive reading, writing, drawing and even joke-telling propensities. If boys are constantly subject to disapproval for their interests and enthusiasms, they are likely to become disengaged and lag further behind.
The following two articles take a look at the problem and how to engage boys so that they can be as successful as girls in the K-12 environment.